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Programs in the USA are divided into two categories – STEM and Non-STEM. STEM is an acronym for Science – Technology – Engineering – Mathematics. So, any program that falls in one or more of these categories is considered a STEM program. For example, Computer Science, Engineering, Accounting, Business Analytics, Data Science etc. fall under the STEM category. Traditionally, MBA programs did not fall in the STEM category i.e., they were non-STEM programs. However, in the last 5 years, several business schools have started introducing STEM MBA programs.
There are several reasons why students should choose MBA programs that are STEM designated:
Typically, in the United States, students get a 1 year stay back option on completion of their program. However, students who complete a STEM program can extend this period by 2 years for a total of 3 years of stay. This means students who opt for STEM programs can earn in dollars for at least 3 years before applying for an H1-B (work) visa which gives such students a better shot at earning back the amount they spent on tuition, living etc. while studying. So, if you enroll for a STEM MBA program, you get to stay and work in the USA for 3 years instead of just 1 year.
STEM MBA programs include quant heavy courses. Its perceived that students who have pursued a STEM MBA have better analytical skills and therefore, such students are preferred for jobs – especially in those jobs that require heavy analysis such as finance, consulting and business analytics. Such students also have a leg up when interviewing in tech giants like Google, Uber, Apple and Microsoft. Tech companies seem to believe that students with a STEM MBA can understand technology better.
Most of the core courses taken by STEM and non-STEM MBA students remain the same. Both sets of students will generally take courses in strategy, marketing, economics, finance, organization design and leadership. The difference in the two primarily lies in the choice of elective courses. While a non-STEM MBA student has flexibility to choose any elective, a student opting for a STEM MBA program must select a few courses related to either math, engineering, or programming. For example, at USC, students must choose at least 18 credits worth of STEM courses to have their MBA “STEM Designated”. Examples of some STEM electives are Business Analytics, Big Data, Project Management, Supply Chain Management and SQL Databases.
Here are some examples of STEM Designated MBA Programs offered by popular schools:
STEM MBA graduates are best suited for careers in the following industries / job functions:
Business Analytics is the science of extracting insights from data using statistical tools and techniques. These
insights are further refined into recommendations and presented to top management to improve decision making.
Retail, tech, logistics and finance companies heavily recruit STEM MBAs for business analyst positions.
STEM MBAs are great at analysing risks in projects and calculating the probability of success / failure. This makes
them suited to jobs in risk management. Those who wish to work in risk management will primarily be recruited by
banks to measure the risk associated with different asset classes, investments and to design loan or insurance
products. They can also be recruited by large companies who need personnel to calculate the riskiness of starting a
new major project.
Every large company you can think of maintains at least one large database. Companies need people who can manage and
scale such databases. A Database administrator’s job is to ensure that the data remains secure, database operations
function as expected, conducting maintenance, and creating database backups. They may also be tasked with overseeing
the transition of the database from one technology / framework to another.
With most products becoming “tech” products – companies need personnel who understand user needs and the capability
of their tech. STEM MBAs are trained to understand both. This makes them great product managers. So STEM MBAs are
highly sought after by tech startups and tech giants alike.
The eligibility criteria for a STEM MBA program is similar as that of a non-STEM MBA program:
Here are the top 10 STEM MBA programs in the USA. All these programs require the GRE / GMAT (2021 / 2022 was an exception due to COVID-19):
|University||STEM MBA Programs||Average GMAT / GRE||Average GPA||Average Work Experience|
|Stanford||All MBA specializations||738 / 330||3.8||4.8 Years|
|Harvard||MBA in Management Science||730 / 327||3.7||5.0 Years|
|UPenn – Wharton||MBA in Actuarial Science, Business Analytics, Energy||733 / 324||3.6||5.0 Years|
|MIT – Sloan||All MBA specializations||730 / 327||3.6||5.0 Years|
|Columbia||All MBA specializations||729||3.5||5.0 Years|
|UC Berkeley – Haas||All MBA specializations||726 / 323||3.7||5.5 Years|
|University of Chicago – Booth||All MBA specializations||732 / 325||3.5||5.0 Years|
|UCLA – Anderson||All MBA specializations||714||3.5||5.0 Years|
|Northwestern – Kellogg||MBA in Management Science||727 / 327||3.7||5.0 Years|
|Yale||MBA in Management Science||730 / 331||3.7||4.4 Years|
Most of the schools above are extremely competitive (selection rate between 5% – 10%) and are extremely expensive (tuition fee between Rs 80 lakhs – Rs 1 crore). If you’re looking for programs that are easier to get into, cheaper, but which still provide great career opportunities and are STEM designated, check out the programs below (MBA, MBA like programs):
|University||STEM Program||Is GMAT / GRE Required?||Tuition Fee|
|University of Delaware||MBA in Business analytics||Optional||Rs 13 lakhs|
|Clark University||MBA in Analytics, Finance||Students can apply for a waiver||Rs 43 lakhs|
|Kent State University||MS – Business Analytics||Waived for Fall 21 / 22||Rs 17 lakhs|
|Saint Louis University||MBA – Business Analytics||Waived for Fall 21 / 22||Rs 44 lakhs|
|University of Dayton||MS – Business Analytics||Students can apply for a waiver||Rs 25 lakhs|
Apart from the programs above, you can also consider top business schools in other countries like Canada and Australia where it’s easier to get into, cheaper – but you still have great job opportunities and an easy pathway to immigration. We hope this article helped. If you have any additional study abroad queries – do contact us.
Our hope is that this article gave you an overview of the different career paths and universities available to those who wish to study in USA. If you do have any further queries or questions, do reach out to our experts and get your study abroad journey started today.
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